Workplace Harassment, Its Types, and How to Report it

Updated on 11/15/2022


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When a worker or group of employees feel threatened or degraded by their coworkers, workplace harassment takes place. A workplace harasser's only goal is to make their victims think uncomfortable and unsafe.

Employees who are harassed may experience anxiety, panic attacks, and avoidance behaviors that reduce their productivity. They could get demotivated and develop poor decision-making skills. In addition to costing money in legal bills, harassment can harm the business's reputation.

Although it frequently occurs, workplace harassment is rarely discussed in public—workplace harassment results in a toxic and violent environment. The majority of incidences of workplace harassment go unnoticed and unreported because many people are unsure of what constitutes harassment.

This article will discuss workplace harassment, its types, and reporting procedures.

Lets’s dive in.

Workplace Harassment Types

We can't ignore the existence of workplace harassment, even if there isn't any tangible proof. Any form of harassment can be used in the workplace, including psychological, emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual. There are eight main categories of workplace harassment, including:

  1. Vocal harassment
  2. Discriminatory Harassment
  3. Psychological harassment
  4. Cyberbullying
  5. Sexual harassment
  6. Physical harassment
  7. Authority Harassment
  8. Personal Harassment

Let's take a closer look and make it simpler to identify these types of harassment at work.

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  1. Vocal harassment

Sufferers of verbal harassment frequently face an ongoing struggle of destruction that threatens their fitness and career. Verbal harassment involves depreciating disgraces, offensive signals, and unjustified disparagements.

Because that is a non-physical shape of violence, it consists of insults like fat-shaming/body-shaming jokes, hurtful feedback, and unwanted taunting, consequently, regularly challenging to understand. As it's miles a grey location, HR managers and leaders must be vigilant to note such harassing behaviors.

  1. Discriminatory Harassment

Discrimination inside the workplace includes when an agency, manager, or co-employee mistreats any other employee based on faith, age, ethnicity, gender, disability, skin color, or race. This goes past workplace behavior to embody hiring and firing practices additionally.

The most prevalent forms of discrimination in the workplace seen today are race and national origin. Victims may also experience racial harassment due to their ethnicity, skin color, heritage, place of birth in the United States, or citizenship. Although sometimes linked to racial harassment, religious discrimination focuses on the victim's religious views.

  1. Psychological harassment

Though more subtle and consists of information-with-holding strategies, psychological harassment is somewhat comparable to verbal harassment. Such harassment victims are more prone to experience mental breakdowns, have low self-esteem, and tend to be self-destructive.

Employees may be subjected to psychological harassment if they are required to perform tasks outside the scope of their position, given credit for another person's success, or both. Intentional psychological bullying takes the form of this.

  1. Cyberbullying

The most recent type of harassment is cyberbullying or digital harassment. Even when it takes place online, cyberbullying is just as offensive. Social media usage is now standard practice in all workplaces.

Therefore, anyone can cyberbully anyone in the name of free expression. Individuals can create fake personas to humiliate or harass their coworkers. The good news about online harassment is that those who are harassed may report it.

 A victim of such harassment and discrimination might keep track of the episodes through screenshots, preserved emails, etc. By doing this, those who have experienced workplace harassment can readily report these unpleasant actions.

  1. Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment at work is a terrible crime that happens more frequently than you might believe. It is a crime that women do not just commit. Sexual harassment can happen to everybody, nonetheless of gender, either as the target or the offender.

Sexual harassment in the workplace received new attention in 2017 because of the #Metoo campaign, although safeguards had already been put in place. (https://blog.vantagecircle.com/workplace-harassment/)

Unwanted touching, obscene messages and videos, asking for sexual favors, and commentaries, including bad-mannered gestures, are rare signs of sexual harassment.

Most of the time, those incidents cross not noted and unreported, and due to this, offenders regularly get away with their behavior. Many victims no longer want to talk handiest about this as they assume it's going to get better, but no, it most effectively worsens. However, one has to file if a person is a sex culprit and makes a person uncomfortable.

  1. Physical harassment

Physical threats or assaults at work are examples of physical harassment, often known as workplace violence. Physical intimidation could, in some situations, be considered an assault. 

Physical actions like lighthearted pushing blur the appropriate and inappropriate boundaries since the recipient determines whether the move makes them feel uncomfortable.

It may qualify as physical harassment even if no serious bodily injury results. Employees are required to report any instances of violence and take stern measures against the violators.

  1. Authority Harassment

A typical type of workplace harassment known as "authority or power harassment" is categorized by inequality of power between the harasser and the hassled.

By intimidating a victim lower on the office ladder, the harasser shows their dominance. Many different behaviors can constitute power harassment. It might be physical acts of violence or verbal threats intended to intimidate.

The majority of the time, it's psychological. The harasser makes unreasonable demands of the victim that she cannot fulfill Low expectations that are much above what the individual can handle intrusion into the employee's personal life.

  1. Personal Harassment

Personal Harassment One type of workplace harassment not based on a protected class is personal harassment. It is essentially bullying in its simplest form, which is not criminal but has potential harm.

Personal harassment can take many forms, including inappropriate statements, offensive jokes, humiliation, criticism, isolating actions, intimidation techniques, and other behaviors that make the victim feel threatened and offended at work.

How to report workplace harassment?

If you've experienced workplace harassment, it's likely that others have suffered from this unacceptable behavior in the past and will do so again if it is not immediately addressed.

You may have reported this incident to the human resources representative at your workplace, but what should you do if your claim is being ignored or if you feel uncomfortable raising it internally out of fear of retaliation? 

Place of work harassment exists in the course of all kinds of work within the U.S., From bullying to outright discrimination, and it’s critical to apprehend workplace harassment so that you can keep away from an adversarial work environment in your small commercial enterprise. With the aid of developing a place of job harassment coverage, you could take the essential steps to create a safe running environment for all your personnel.

The next natural step is to submit a complaint to a government agency responsible for safeguarding staff members like you from all types of harassment.

While many larger firms have rigorous anti-harassment rules, some smaller ones might lack them. We encourage staff members to take the following actions, especially leaders and HR managers:

  1. Try to converse with the harasser one-on-one calmly. Ask them to cease speaking disparagingly about your personnel (victims). If the abuse is physical, avoid approaching the harasser and take immediate action.
  2. If your worker complains about harassment and you see that the outlaw is in a supervision resolution, enhance the difficulty to the eye of HR in case your attempts to clear it up with the harasser fail. Recollect imparting evidence if you have any, like screenshots, eyewitnesses, or textual content messages.
  3. As a manager, in case you experience that your corporation did no longer cope with your employees’ proceedings diligently, get in touch with the EEOC, which can look at the incident impartially. Help your personnel contact them as their legal guidelines and agencies regulate the place of business behavior.

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Workplace harassment laws

  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 makes it unlawful for groups to pay distinctive wages to women and men if they complete equal work inside an identical place of business.
  • Name VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone based on race, coloration, religion, countrywide beginning, or sex. It additionally protects victims and folks who record these crimes in or out of the place of work.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 says that people over 40 years old cannot be discriminated against within the place of their job because of age.

Frequently asked questions:

  1. What is not considered harassment? 

The actions that result from a mutually consenting relationship are not regarded as harassment. A hug between friends, flirting between coworkers, and complimenting one another's physical beauty is not considered harassment.

  1. What is a toxic work environment?

Negative behaviors like manipulation, bullying, screaming, and other similar ones become so ingrained in an organization's culture that it creates a poisonous work atmosphere where low productivity, low trust, high-stress levels, intramural fighting, and discrimination become the norm.

  1. Is it hard to prove harassment at work?

The fact that it is so challenging to establish is one of the reasons it is so ubiquitous. For numerous reasons, proof can be crucial in such situations. It might be more difficult for harassers to justify their actions and escape punishment. It can also make it more difficult for a company to ignore or conceal the conduct.

  1. When should you quit a job? (include the factor of harassment as well)

It might be time to file a lawsuit if that fails to stop the harassment, worsens it, or leads to poor treatment at work or termination. Quitting your job should only be done if it is genuinely intolerable, even after trying to make it stop. Your legal rights could be at risk if you leave.

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